I have been reading Li and Bernhoff’s Groundswell just recently, and I came across an interesting division of levels of interaction with the social web. I’ll type it out here for your edification.
- Publish a blog
- Publish your own web pages
- Upload video you created
- Upload audio/music you created
- Write articles or stories and publish them
- Post ratings/reviews of products or services
- Comment on someone else’s blog
- Contribute to online forums
- Contribute to/edit articles in a wiki
- Use RSS feeds
- Add tags to websites or photos
- ‘Vote’ for websites online
- Maintain profile on a social networking site
- Visit social networking sites
- Read blogs
- Watch video from other users
- Listen to podcasts
- Read online forums
- Read consumer ratings/reviews
- None of these activities
Whilst we may want to pick away at the odd thing on the list, I think it is broadly right in terms of the degrees of participation. The key thing is to understand both what it is that these groups want out of their web ‘experience’ and making sure the tools you use can meet that need. The other thing to consider might be how, if at all, you can encourage people to move up into the next category: to try and get some inactives spectating; and some critics creating.
I suppose it goes without saying, really, but if you were to visualise the list above in terms of the numbers within each group, it would be a pyramid, with lots of inactives and spectators but very few creators at the top. Perhaps this is how it should be, else we really would get drowned in the resultant noise.
What do you make of these levels of participation, and how could they be used in planning a social media project?